Toronto Blue Jays: Attention Now Turns to David Price and James Shields (Updated)


Are the Toronto Blue Jays in a position to add David Price or James Shields?

[Update: it looks like Anthopoulos has done the unimaginable – the Jays have reportedly acquired Price from the Detroit Tigers. The cost? Youngster Daniel Norris is part of the package going the other way and it’s not clear if the Jays have any intention of re-singing Price at the end of the season (he’s scheduled to hit free agency in the fall). What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below! I’m stoked!]

It appears the Texas Rangers have won the race to acquire Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies. This means the Toronto Blue Jays will have to look elsewhere if they still intend to bolster their rotation.

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One such option is David Price, whose status as an elite pitcher is universally accepted. Over his nine-year career, Price has amassed a record of 95-55 across 202 starts with an ERA of 3.13 and a WHIP of 1.14.

His numbers for this season look just as impressive: 9-4 record, 2.53 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.

As a further bonus, Price is capable of crunching some big innings, which would take some of the pressure of off Toronto’s beleaguered bullpen. He’s already pitched 146 innings this season and should easily pass the 200-inning mark by the end of September.

Jul 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; American League pitcher David Price (14) of the Detroit Tigers throws against the National League during the fourth inning of the 2015 MLB All Star Game at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s a fault to Price, however, it concerns his contract status. He’s scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the season. This means the asking price for him will be considerably lower than what Hamels commanded from the Rangers, but it also means he’s a rental player: plain and simple. For a Toronto team that is looking at the present and the future at the same time, this makes it difficult to justify any potential trade for Price. Unless they’re able to immediately re-sign him to a multi-year deal, it’s not worth the cost.

James Shields, a teammate of Prices’ with the Tampa Bay Rays for five seasons, is another potential trade target for the Jays. Unlike Price, Shields’ current contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2018 season and it includes a team option for 2019. Over his career, Shields has been a bigger innings cruncher than Price, but that’s really the only area where he tops Price. Both are good pitchers, but Price is clearly the better one.

Jul 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher James Shields (33) reacts to giving up a home run to Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (not pictured) in the sixth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On the season, Shields is 8-4 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

These are two of the remaining options general manager Alex Anthopoulos has to consider as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches on Friday. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one looking at them: the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers are also pressing hard for some pitching relief. This might escalate the cost for either pitcher beyond what the Jays are willing and able to pay.

What are your thoughts? How important is it that the Jays add another arm before the non-waiver trade deadline hit? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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As the non-waiver trade deadline approach, keep visiting Tip of the Tower for all of your Toronto Blue Jays news!